Productivity gurus will always tell you that ticking off all the items on your checklist is the ultimate win.
So you walk out of the arena proudly like the heavyweight champion of the WWE who took on all the tasks.
I’ll admit, in theory that’s an encouraging thought.
But in practice, not so much. After all, who are we kidding? We all secretly know that WWE was never real. It’s scripted.
Have you noticed this? You make an ambitious, long running scroll of endless to -do’s.
But, when it comes to stock taking time you realize you haven’t completed all of them.
That sinking feeling of not having been productive doesn’t feel good right?
That’s because there is something inherently wrong with the way we have been conditioned to approach productivity.
Why do we try to be productive? So that we feel happy about achieving meaningful things that contribute to our purpose.
But if the road to productivity ends up causing you anxiousness over happiness, then you know it’s a futile quest to begin with.
If you approach productivity by measuring the volume of completed tasks vs incomplete ones, you are putting yourself on the chase of an elusive goal.
A lot like aiming at a moving goal post. Productivity will only seem further away.
Two reason for this:
- As human beings, we are prone to the tendency of overestimation of one’s own performance
- Every passing moment we find ourselves adding more goals to what we originally set out for.
Think of it like the mystical Akshay Patra, from ancient fables.
It’s a never depleting vessel of food. As the food comes close to getting exhausted, more food appears.
The food never stops appearing, you never finish eating.
Goals are a lot like that.
More is not always better.
And because we tie our productivity meter to an unquantifiable number, we set ourselves up for unhappiness, stress and guilt.
How GTD helps you view your to-do as options, instead of obligations
GTD helped me realize that the point of making the list is not to get everything done, but to get clear on what my commitments are.
With that clarity, you get the freedom to decide what to do and what not to do.
You can be comfortable about saying “No” to the other things on your list because you are clear about what you want to say “Yes” to.
And I say “yes” to those things that most contribute to my life’s purpose.
When I approach my list with this way of thinking, my lists no longer give me stress.
I’m no longer overwhelmed if my list is long. Infact long lists give me more options to choose from.
So I can get the things I need to get done and not worry about the things I am not doing.
It’s a simple yet effective practice that has added a lot of guilt-free, stress-free time to my life, and I am sure it will do the same for you too.
Hi! I’m a Master Trainer in Getting Things Done®. Besides getting my real estate business under control, GTD® has helped me to explore my passions in Art & Spirituality, which has allowed me to publish four books. I’m here to show you how you can use GTD to master the Art of Stress-Free Productivity.